Detroit Pistons tank watch: Lottery odds and draft simulation

Detroit Pistons draft picks (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons draft picks (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons’ rebuild is going as planned, with the team losing competitive games behind strong play from their rookies and headed towards a chance at top pick.

The Pistons have not gotten any love from the Lottery Gods recently, so they would like to ensure they have one of the worst records to increase their chances at grabbing the number one pick.

There is no way to ensure they end up getting it of course, but as long as they stay in the bottom three, they will have the best possible odds.

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The last thing the Detroit Pistons want to do at this point is to win a bunch of meaningless games in the second half and drop out of the top three, as they did last season, which was cruelly cut short due to the pandemic, just as the Pistons were beginning their full-on descent to the bottom of the league.

So far they’ve done a masterful job of this, losing games but doing it competitively, which will hopefully get them some good lottery Karma if you believe in that sort of thing.

Detroit Pistons: What are the Pistons’ current lottery odds?

After last night’s loss to the Grizzlies, the Pistons are now just 8-21, good for the worst record in the East and the second-worst overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who are 7-23.

This would give the Detroit Pistons a 14 percent chance at the number one pick and a 52.1 percent chance to land in the top-four. Since the NBA changed how lottery odds are calculated, being the worst team in the league is no longer a huge advantage when it comes to draft.

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The good news is that the Pistons already lost the Timberwolves once this season, but the bad news is that the Timberwolves are legitimately terrible. They only scored 81 points in a loss to Toronto last night, so the Pistons are going to have their work cut out for them in the race to the bottom.

Karl-Anthony Towns has returned, so hopefully that alone will help Minnesota eek out a few more wins.

Just for fun, I ran the lottery simulator five times to see what would happen. The Detroit Pistons would not be happy with the results, as I got 5th, 3rd, 2nd, 5th and 4th in my five spins. Ouch.

This shows you how lucky teams have to be to not only get the #1 pick but do it in a year when there is a consensus superstar.

Keep your fingers crossed, Detroit, as this lottery will be one of the most important for the Pistons in recent history.

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